Shanghai China is located on the eastern coast of China where the Yangtze River meets the East China Sea. With over 24 million people, Shanghai is the world’s most populated city (as of 2014).
You may want to grab a cup of coffee and get comfortable, because we have lots of pictures to get through! I’ve tried to cut this post down to a reasonable size, but failed miserably. So without further ado, let’s jump right in!
Check out our SHANGHAI SNAPSHOT Video!
As with any big city, it takes a while to figure things out. Where can we explore the best shopping and eat in great authentic Chinese restaurants? How about finding the best souvenirs, or fresh food markets? To find answers to these questions, we walked, walked and walked some more. My husband Ed, son Patrick, daughter-in-law Callie and granddaughter Jayden spent a lot of time exploring the busy downtown streets of Shanghai. We had months to plan our trip so we did our homework, read travel books, searched for information on-line and I did what any smart blogger would do, I reached out to the only blogger friend I know that’s been to Shanghai.
Do you know Abbe Odenwalder from the blog, This is How I Cook? Her son Alex lives in Shanghai so I bothered them endlessly with question after question and they were such a big help! Abbe has a wonderful post about her trip to visit Alex, and funny enough, we ended up taking a lot of the same photos! Thank you Abbe and Alex – you’re the best!
Since we don’t speak or read Mandarin, or any of the other languages of China, we had to wing it most of the time. The people of Shanghai seem to be well adapted to dealing with foreigners, and are eager to help you make purchases. If the price is not clearly marked, or if you purchase multiple items, they key the total amount due into a small calculator and show it to you so you can pay the correct amount. Obviously money has it’s own language!
We did okay with the conversion of Chinese Yuan to US dollars as it was pretty easy to figure out. I didn’t want to figure this one out – and not really sure how it was cooked. Just guessing here but I think it’s a whole duck. They also displayed a pig face – no bones, just a flat face. It must be an acquired taste – not for me.
Honestly I could not tell you what all these wrapped goodies are. They may have been sweets or cheese or some sort of snacks. You can buy it by weight, just load up the basket and get your money ready.
I saw fruits I’ve never seen before, and many I recognized.
The sign for these jars of yogurt was written in English too, so we had to give it a try. It was delicious!
One market had an entire section of alcohol, most with names I recognized from the US. Again, this is just a guess, but I bet these are not your typical bottles of scotch. We did the math on this one – and turns out these containers come to about $189,000. I guess it’s really, really good stuff!
I had to look this one up – and believe it’s a Durian. The exotic fruit is common in southeast Asia and is either loved or hated by those that dare try it. With an overpowering smell, some have compared it to rotten onions, or dirty socks.
Small shops line the streets with plenty of trinkets, and souvenirs for the tourists. The only thing we really bought were chop sticks from a store on Nanjing Road. They are beautiful and I’m sure they’ll show up in a blog post sometime soon. The funny thing is, I stopped in a Pier One the other day and noticed some pretty chop sticks. I looked at the package and turned it over to see they were made in China. Ha! So were mine 🙂
The Yuyuan Garden is an amazing oasis in the middle of a bustling city. It is believed to be more than 400 years old, constructed during the Ming Dynasty. The area spans almost 5 acres with incredible ponds, bridges, buildings and rock sculptures.
Scooters, bicycles and mopeds are a common form of transportation.
We spent a lot of time walking and shopping on Nanjing Road. Nanjing is a pedestrian road approximately 3.4 miles long, which makes it the world’s longest shopping district. On any given day, it’s said there are 1.7 million visitors to Nanjing Road. There are several bronze sculptures displayed, and this one, in particular, was a very popular spot for photos.
A busy day on Nanjing Road
Nanjing is such a busy area, they constructed tunnels under the major roadways to keep the flow of people and traffic moving along.
The streets–and sidewalks–are lined with scooters and bicycles.
Did I mention that McDonald’s hosts weddings in Shanghai? Apparently it’s a thing – and this restaurant hosted two events on the Saturday we were in Shanghai. Complete with flowers, food, a DJ and photographer, this is the place to be!
This is an early morning view of Nanjing Road.
Nanjing Road ends at The Bund, a mile long waterfront area in central Shanghai overlooking the Huangpu River.
Pedestrians can catch the metro to get to the other side or take a ride on the Shanghai Bund Sightseeing Tunnel on a slow moving maglev train. Both go under the river with neither offering much by way of sights to see, except for a cheesy light show. Check out our video.
On the left is the famous Oriental Pearl Tower and on the right is the world’s second tallest building. Construction started on the 128-story Shanghai Tower in 2008 with an opening in 2016. The Shanghai Tower boasts the world’s highest observation deck and the world’s fastest elevators.
The Bund is a very popular area any time of the day or night.
When we weren’t walking, we traveled by Metro. The subway is inexpensive at about $1.00 per ride, per person. However, it’s very crowded so if you’re looking for personal space, you won’t get any!
All the Metro stops are written in English as well as Mandarin – thank goodness!
Small gardens and parks are all over the city, providing an oasis from the sun and traffic.
I found this circular pedestrian bridge fascinating! Built 20 feet above Lujiazui Rd, the bridge enables pedestrians to avoid this super busy intersection.
With numerous exits, escalators and bridges to shopping, cafes and office buildings, it’s a brilliant marvel!
If you saw the 2006 movie Mission Impossible III, you probably remember Tom Cruise bungee jumping off a building and landing on another. The center building pictured here is the one he jumped from during the filming of the movie.
An up close look at the Shanghai Tower.
Patrick, Callie and Jayden went to the top and took some GoPro video to share.
In the basement of this enormous building is a very busy food court. I had to capture these lovely desserts on display!
Ed tried their dumpling soup and loved it. Not to be confused with soup dumplings 🙂
Ed and I went out on Saturday night to Nanjing Road. Even though it’s extremely crowded, we never felt unsafe.
We walked a few miles and headed to The Bund.
It was worth the trip to see the buildings at night!
We’ve never seen so many people taking selfies. Everybody has a smart phone.
This flood control wall in front of the Bund is called “the lovers’ wall” and is decorated with plants and flowers.
We went to Shanghai to watch our son Patrick (light blue shirt) run in a Spartan Race. Patrick entered a video contest, sponsored by Spartan Race Inc. and Obstacle Racing Media (ORM), and won a trip to Shanghai! Matt (on the left) co-founder of Obstacle Racing Media, met us in Shanghai to cover the event. Patrick and Matt spent a few mornings preparing for the race by jogging the quiet streets of Shanghai.
A morning run on The Bund
Getting ready for the obstacles 🙂
The best time to be on Nanjing Road!
The day of the event, Ed and I took photos and shot video for Obstacle Racing Media. This was my first Spartan Race and the first time I got to see our son compete.
There were approximately 5,000 participants, with people from all over the world. We ran into a few ladies from Atlanta dressed in Super Woman outfits (see video).
Races start every 30 minutes until there are no more runners.
Such an event!
The elite group runs first. The blond guy second from the left won the day with the best time. We are tremendously proud of our son Patrick who came in 12th out of 5,000 participants! He actually ran the race twice. The first time he ran as fast as possible. The second time he ran with Matt for fun, and to gather more GoPro video.
A map of the 4 mile course with 26 obstacles.
I sat at this obstacle waiting for Patrick to come through. Before he got there, this entourage showed up with security, cameras and an entire group that watched this guy climb the rope. Apparently he is a famous actor in China – but that’s all I know! (Watch Patrick ring the bell in the video!)
It was a great day and a wonderful event. I hope to see more Spartan Races, but hopefully I won’t have to travel so far to watch him compete next time. If you’re interested in seeing the video that won Patrick’s trip to Shanghai, click HERE to watch!
Our days were full while in Shanghai but one thing we really wanted to do was visit the aquarium. We arrived via Metro to find enormous lines waiting to get into the aquarium.
What luck – we tried to visit the aquarium on the busiest day of the year – Half Price Tourism Day – oh well!
To wrap it up, check out a few of the signs my husband Ed shot while seeing the sights!
Thanks so much for sticking with me through this really long post! I hope you enjoyed our tour of Shanghai – it was a lot to stuff into 5 days but we did it! If you want more, check out our (much shorter) posts about Chinese Street Food in Shanghai and a fun little post all about our granddaughter in Jayden’s Shanghai Adventure. Only one more super short post left to do about our hotel. Stay tuned and thanks again.